Biodynamic Preparations and Formulations

In this section you will find information on the preparations that are unique to the Bio-dynamic Method of Farming.
Click on the links below to discover a new world of making and applying preparations to enhance the earthly and cosmic influences in a farm system.

 BD Compost

Plant nutrients are maintained in the soil by addition of composts, made from animal manures which are usually combined with plant materials, such as green legume crops and dry strawy material, where the organic materials are converted into a stable humus through a fermentation process.

Composting the organic materials, will avoid the nutrient losses from oxidation or leaching that would happen if these organic materials were to be applied directly on the ground. Various rock dusts can be applied through the compost heap to supply depleted essential mineral elements.

Compost Making

Making quality compost is very important as a way to maintain humus in the soil.
The method is relatively simple and the best way to understand the making of compost is to do it.

Mixture of Protein Rich and Carbon Rich Raw Material

Protein rich materials

  • animal manures, lawn clippings, fresh green grass, leaves and shoots of legume trees such as gliricidia, erythrina, crotalaria.

Carbon rich materials

  • shredded coconut fronds, coir pith, paddy straw, hay, wood chips, dry leaves and grasses

60% protein

40% carbonaceous

  • Attention must be given to the aeration of the material. Without air, the heap will not heat up and it will become anaerobic and smelly.
  • Build an air tunnel at the bottom of the heap, with layers of hay from a bale, or corn stalks or similar. This stops the heap from settling down too much.

Base Layer for air tunnel

Layer 1: Carbon

Layer 2: Proteins

Usually a compost is best made in a layering method, with the carbonaceous layer about 10cm deep, alternating with the protein material which is about 15cm deep.

  • In this way the protein of the green will supply the nitrogen, that the bacteria require for their growth, to break down the carbon material.
  • Keep the layers loose, do not firm the material down too much, as that will exclude the air.

Add Animal Dung slurry on the Protein Layer (greens)

The animal dung should be made into a slurry and watered onto the carbon layer. This will bring the animal effect into the compost and also feed the microorganisms which will break down the dry material.


Air and Moisture

To have a successful fermentation, attention must be given to getting the right amount of moisture as well as the right air content and then ---the right temperature will arise, which is about 60°C for 2-3 weeks during which time fungal activity is evident - changing gradually to bacterial activity.

Therefore, care must be taken that the dry carbon material is moist enough. Generally it is best to wet any dry material before it is put on to the heap. A test to assess proper moisture content is that water should drip out of the material when it is squeezed in the hand. 

Add hydrated lime to the green vegetation layer.

Just a dusting like sugar on dosa!

If the soil needs phosphate, rock phosphate can be also applied to the heap, approx 25kgs per 5m3. It can be sprinkled on the carbon layer. The theory is that the organic acids in the heap will gently work on the phosphate rock and make the phosphate available.

The heap should be built as a layered mound. The dimensions of the heap should be two metres wide at the base and one and a half metres high and as long as is practical. Basically 5 metres long appears to be a convenient length.

One metre length will give approx one cubic metre, or one tonne approx, of finished compost, depending on the nature of the materials. Some farmers make heaps of bigger proportions than this, but usually they will run into a breaking down problem due to compaction of the large volume and consequent lack of aeration. The small garden can have a windrow style heap of smaller dimensions.

When the compost heap is completed:

  • Make 5 deep holes in the side of the compost heap
  • Put 1 gm each of the BD 502-506 preps in the holes – 1 prep/hole
  • Make a hole on the top of the heap
  • Stir 10ml of BD 507 in 1 litre of water for 10 mins and pour ½ of it into the hole on top
  • Sprinkle the remaining ½ BD 507 evenly round the heap in a clockwise direction

It is best to make compost where there is shade. Trees such as bananas, sesbania or mangos are beneficial to compost making and will provide valuable shade during the hot dry months. Avoid building heaps under trees with rampant roots eg. prickly accacia or Sububul.

Maintenance

  • Insert a stick into the heap to measure heat.
  • Water regularly
  • The heap should be turned regularly. Probably after about 6 weeks. This will aerate the heap and it also will give a chance to check moisture content.
  • The compost should be ready in about 4 months depending on the ambient temperature.
  • It will be a brown, crumbly humus.

Application of Biodynamic Compost

Application Measure

  • For heavy feeding vegetables - 10m3 per acre
  • For paddy (rice), fruit trees, coconuts, grapes, citrus - 5 to 10 m3 per acre
  • For tea / coffee gardens - 3 to 5 m3 per acre.

One more compost heap in India!